About Lynn Voedisch
Lynn Voedisch is a Chicago journalist and fiction writer with many years experience working for newspapers and magazines. She is a member of the America Society of Journalists and Authors and the Society of Midland Authors, where she is one the board of directors. She started out as editor of her college newspaper at Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, and went on to work for WBBM-TV, Chicago; Pioneer Press in suburban Chicago, the Los Angeles Times, and spent a seventeen-year stint at the Chicago Sun-Times. She was an entertainment reporter and technology reporter there and helped develop the newspaper’ s fledgling Web site. The site and staff won Best Innovation from the Inland Daily Press Association and the Dvorak Award for Web content.
She has been on television (Chicago Tonight) and radio (WBEZ-FM) talk shows, discussing arts topics that affect the city. After leaving the Sun-Times, she pursued a freelance career where she was published in the Chicago Tribune and in the Industry Standard, Grok and Connect-Time (all technology magazines). She also did arts stories for Dance Magazine and the Tribune. A short story of hers, “Wili,” was published in Folio literary magazine in Winter, 2001. She is now working on fiction.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
A: I am pretty tenacious about writing. When I have a project going, I won’t stop until it s finished, even if it takes years.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
A: I am too sensitive about critiques. I take all of them to heart and get upset, even when some of them are dead wrong. I have a hard time separating the good ones from the ones that don’t make any sense.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
A: “Never be afraid to write a shitty first draft” (Anne Lamott) She is saying that if you let yourself be cowed by the fact that they first draft isn’t going to be beautiful, you are never going to get anywhere on your novel.
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
A: You’d think I say writing a published novel, but no. I’m proudest of raising my wonderful son, Erik, to adulthood. He’s now a law school graduate.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
A: I think that living in a house where the arts were treasured made a big difference. Music, painting, reading, all the arts were highly regarded in my family, and though we didn’t have much money, my parents made sure we saw theater too. They never pushed me to be a writer, but were pleased when I became one.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
A: I used to read all the Nancy Drew mysteries when I was a kid and was a dedicated bookworm. I decided that I wanted to be a mystery writer when I grew up. Trouble is that now I have no idea how to write a mystery.
When and why did you begin writing?
A: I noodled about when I was a kid, but my first real writing was as a journalist in college, where I was the editor of the college newspaper. From there I went on to a long career as a newspaper reporter for a large metropolitan daily newspaper. I only made the switch back to fiction when I was able to leave the paper and freelance.
How long have you been writing?
A: More than thirty years. But I’ m still a youngster. LOL.
When did you first know you could be a writer?
A: My fifth grade teacher gave us flash fiction assignments and I always got As on them. Then when there was a parent-teacher conference he told my parents that I was a very talented writer and that I they should think of preparing me to be professional writer. I was over the moon about that.
What inspires you to write and why?
A: Maybe this comes from my journalistic training, but I don’t need to be inspired to write. I just do it.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
A: I’ m told that what I do is urban fantasy. I think it’s magical realism. Whatever I do has magic in it. But no dragons or swords and sorcery.
What inspired you to write your first book?
A: My first book, “Excited Light,” is about an angel experience. I actually do believe in angels.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
A: My favorite authors influence me. They are Alice Hoffman, Isabel Allende, and Neil Gaiman. I’ m sure there are more, but that’s all that comes to mind right now.
Who or what influenced your writing over the years?
A: I took some classes with a professor from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL), and he opened my mind up to ways to structure the novel that I hadn’t been doing before. That was a real eye opener and better than trying to get an MFA.
What made you want to be a writer?
A: Except for the fairy-princess stage, I think I always wanted to be a writer. It’s just what I am.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
A: Overcoming procrastination. I can think whole chapters up in my head and have it ready to go, dialog and everything, but I need to put the butt in the chair and actually start typing. Then it all comes out at once and I’ll have a chapter written, mainly 2,000 words, all in one sitting. It’s just making myself do it that’s the hard part. I don’t know why I procrastinate. Sometimes I’ll go for weeks without procrastinating and it will hit again.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
A: Well, it taught me a lot about ancient Egypt that’s for sure. And it taught me that almost all critiques have some value. Even if they sound ridiculous at first, they represent something that will come up with the reading public. So, I used every critique I got and tried to apply it to my manuscript. I didn’t use everything, but I was much more tolerant of points of view that I might have blown off years ago.